Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Howard Dean's game http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20030805-084110-8332r.htm
Mr. Dean, wisely enough, is not haunted by 1972. While "electable wing" Democrats like to invoke the famous George McGovern meltdown, in which the anti-Vietnam War candidate carried only one state against Republican President Richard Nixon, the parallels are dubious.
The 1972 election is best understood as the last gasp of the 1960s, in which Democratic Party regulars — furious about the McGovernites takeover of the nominating process — gave their own presidential nominee a drubbing. Ironically, though, George McGovern was neither a leftist nor a standard-bearer for the party's left wing. He was the guy who got to rewrite party rules off the 1968 Democratic Convention debacle and became the beneficiary of that internal restructuring.
The Democratic Party left hit its high-water mark in the Dump Johnson movement in 1968, but was actually on the decline by the time Mr. McGovern's rules changes allowed him to capture the nomination. If Mr. Dean were to win the Democratic nomination in 2004, it would not be as a result of controlling the party's electoral apparatus, but because a left insurgency managed to explode the grip of the centrist New Democrats.
The article doesn't stop there, with a good analysis of the necessity for Dean to broaden his appeal without losing his authenticity - and how Dean has recognized that challenge and is making headway. Overall, a great and insightful piece that deserves reading.
I have to share the article's closing para though, because it introduces a wonderful term (emphasis mine):
George W. Bush won the election as a compassionate conservative. Perhaps Mr. Dean could win it as a moderate radical. But if Mr. Dean remains anti-Bush because he is a Democrat, he will not succeed. If he becomes identified as anti-Bush because he is an anti-establishment American, that could be a different story.
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.